Bitcoin forks have always been controversial. By its very nature, the immutability of information on the blockchain means that, when issues arise regarding the validity of blocks on the public ledger, responses need to be calculated and purposeful. A fork in the road of a cryptocurrency usually results in the creation of an entirely new currency which seeks to redress issues found on the original blockchain.
But this does not mean that the forks do not occur. A recent analysis conducted by BitMEX exchange found that 44 forks have happened on the blockchain since August of 2017. One of the first forks on this extensive list includes Bitcoin Cash, a popular currency which arose from the original Bitcoin blockchain and drew the attention of massive corporations such as BitPay.
BitPay isn’t alone, either. Bitcoin Gold attempted to integrate an ASIC-resistant algorithm in order to prevent the centralization of mining through the use of the sophisticated ASIC technology. Following these two massively-successful variants of the original Bitcoin, tons of additional forks created currencies with similar names to Bitcoin, but without much change to the basic technology behind the blockchain.
Following these first two major forks, the names became less… sophisticated. The list of Bitcoin spinoffs published by BitMEX includes names like Bitcoin File, Bitcoin Faith, Bitcoin Pizza, and even Bitcoin Rhodium!
A Lack Of Success
Despite the many attempts to create spinoffs of Bitcoin, success seems to be relatively uncommon. Speculation by some analysts holds that “very few” coins resulting from a fork in the Bitcoin blockchain have gained significant success. One Bitcoin spinoff known as Bitcoin Diamond garnered moderate success in the past year, its price rising to around $100 and winning a listing on two major exchanges for cryptocurrencies.
Eventually, tough, even the moderately successful Bitcoin Diamond eventually fell in price, dipping as low as $2 in February. It seems that the huge market surge in late 2017 was not enough to establish the kind of price consistency that marks the original Bitcoin’s viability as a legitimate form of alternative currency.
A Fork In The Road: Future Opportunities
It isn’t all bleak for speculators looking towards forks in the road of the Bitcoin currency. Several notable innovations have resulted from changes to the original public ledger’s infrastructure. For a pertinent example, one needs to only look towards the innovations from Bitcoin Gold. Despite continued efforts of mining companies to get past the BTG technology, Bitcoin Gold was incredibly effective at minimizing the dominance of ASIC on the mining market.
Additionally, some creative innovations to the traditional mining system have made waves in the cryptocurrency world, attracting the attention of news sources all over the world. Bitcoin Green has put forth a blockchain that is theoretically only minable by renewable, clean energy.
Moving forward, investors should be aware of the relative lack of success experienced by most forks on the Bitcoin blockchain, but they should be equally attune to the innovative progress coming from some.